Ever since the news emerged on Friday that the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had roots in Chechnya, analysts and reporters have been working to piece together the complicated history of the Tsarnaev family.
Tamerlan, 26, is now dead, killed in a firefight with police early Friday. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, was captured Friday evening in a Watertown, Mass., backyard, after a daylong manhunt.
A recent revelation that the 2002 immigrants hailed from the Caucasus region has prompted speculation about the brothers’ past. The Russian federal subject of Chechnya, which fought -- and ultimately lost -- two bloody wars for sovereignty during the 1990s, has suddenly become an area of interest.
The timeline below traces the history of the Tsarnaev family as they moved from one region to another before finally emigrating to the United States.
Tamerlan was born in 1986. He indicated Chechnya as his homeland in a 2010, when he was featured in a photo essay in a Boston University magazine. He also noted that his family fled to Kazakhstan during the 1990s, a common destination for many Chechens fleeing the violent conflict at that time.
The next stop was Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked country about 1,400 miles away from Chechnya, where Dzhokhar was born in 1993. Then came a quick stop in the coastal city of Makhachkala, in the Russian federal subject of Dagestan, from 2001 to 2002. From there, Dzhokhar and his family moved to the Boston area. Tamerlan followed a few years later.
The boys’ lives in America were generally unremarkable. Dzhokhar went to a high school -- Cambridge Rindge and Latin School -- and is described by acquaintances as mellow and friendly. Tamerlan studied engineering at Bunker Hill Community College and was an avid boxer. He noted in the Boston magazine profile that he felt out of place as a conservative Muslim.
“I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them,” he said, belying the fact that he was in a relationship at the time.
A year before that interview, Tamerlan was arrested for abusing a girlfriend. There is no record of any trial or conviction. Other than that incident, there was little to indicate that Tamerlan -- much less his little brother -- would be capable of perpetrating such a violent and senseless crime on Monday.
The Boston Marathon bombing killed three people: Krystle Campbell, 29, from Medford, Mass.; Lü Lingzi, 23, from Shenyang, China; and Martin Richard, 8, from Boston. Dozens more have been injured, many severely.
Fortin is the IBTimes Africa Correspondent based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She joined IBT in February of 2012, and has previously worked as an editor and reporter for...